Two years ago I turned 30

Two years ago today I turned thirty.

Two years and one day ago I was a bit angsty about it.

I was traveling for work, which meant dropping myself off halfway across the country between West-Coast Thanksgiving and East-Coast living. I had dinner in a strip-mall cafe with someone I hadn’t seen in years, and she said oh, I must look older too, which didn’t help assuage the anxiety I suffered obligatorily as a woman entering a new decade alone.

I was allergic to the dinner I ate so I was up half the night with punishing stomach cramps.

I woke up on my 30th birthday in the dark, puffy and trembling with exhaustion, and drove myself fifty miles to the airport as the sun slowly rose over the flattest flatness of Colorado.

But there was no angst left at all, just a joy as calm and wide as the plains, now that the day had come. It’s impossible to say it in words that aren’t cliches, so suffice it to say that you will know what I’m talking about if you’ve ever felt quite a lot like the kind of woman they write country songs about.

When I landed I took the train home and watched the late-fall swamps as they fell away. Houses hidden in suburban woodlands whipped by the windows. Houses always look so cozy from the outside, even dismal ones, at least they do to me when I’m in a home-seeking mood like that.

As I got close to my stop it was nearly five and I hadn’t heard a peep from him. Think of it: I’d heard peeps all day from people who love me and he wasn’t among them anymore. It still contorted my brain. But it was a growth pang, not a death pang. Or it was both at once.

When I was back in my little place it was dark. I unpacked and got into comfortable clothes. I ordered a pizza, the kind I like, and drank the kind of lime seltzer I like, and I watched a tragic romantic movie I alone wanted to watch, and I put myself to bed,

and a year after that my life was extremely different, and a year after that as I write this now my life is extremely different from that difference, and both of those years’ differences were ones I would not have predicted, so I guess you never know where the next year will find you if you are fated to have it.

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